Aversive methods and positive reinforcement – opponents or allies?
It is never a good idea to train a dog through negative experience (aversive learning) as the only method – such a ignoring.
You can balance the negative experience by introducing some positive reenforcement of the actually desired behaviors: Actively praising (and if you want rewarding your dog with tiny treats) whenever your dog does the right thing and shows DESIRED, “good” behaviors.
The advantage is that you provide your dog with OPTIONS – it does not know about on its own – on how to please you and how to handle sudden peaks of energy or situations in which your dog feels insecure.
In the given case the dog would be rewarded as soon as it starts to stay down and off people in situations that have been triggers for jumping in the past.
Rule of thumb! Always praise when “all four are on the floor”. This provides for a POSITIVE learning experience for your dog.
Your Bull Terrier will quickly notice: “Keeping my paws on the floor makes GOOD things happen.”
Can training help? It sure can!
All of the above does not really work for me. What else can I do?
Actually the things mentioned above are already some form of training. But it may be the case that the penny does not drop quickly enough for your taste.
In that case, another trick you can try is to use the “sit” and “stay” commands to make your dog stay off you and not jump up. If you have not taught your puppy how to “sit” and “stay” already, I suggest to make that one of your first obedience exercises. It is so easy to teach and learn – and SO cute, when a puppy sits politely on command.
If your dog is doing a reliable “sit” and “stay” already, you can command it to do so as soon as you notice the first signs of possible jumping.
A WORD OF WARNING!
In this situation the dog could still start to jump or go up even from a seated position, if the “sit” and “stay” are not reliable already or excitement is overruling the good manners!!!
This can quickly happen when praising the dog enthusiastically for a polite sit. Joy and excitement, sparked by the positive reaction of the owner taking over and ruining the moment.
So, still no reason to bend over a sitting dog, if you don’t want to get hurt accidentally!
If you want to minimize the excitement and prevent it from taking over, try to act calm, slow and in a low voice around your dog in those situations.
Also great advice for those “oooooohhhhh, you’re such a great doggie, doggie, doggie”- girls, who you meet on the street or who come visit you?
You don’t know such people?
You know exactly what I am talking about?
Well, now you know that you have to train the dog AND the humans. 🙂